This is so useful. Ironically, I felt like a tower of knowledge back in 2012 when DS sat the exam. Now i feel completely out of the loop. The points above are so useful. In terms of resources/materials, which are the best to focus on? I don't even know what a CEM paper looks like and i'm not sure of which NVR books to use for the new format of the CSSE exam.
creative writing - what to do?
As Abraham has said, it's so hard to judge without the levels - what a pain!
Please keep posting anything that's useful for we second-timers who have been out of touch for a while.
i will of course share anything i find.
I am just about to stock up on new resources, so will let you know if I find anything good . . .
As far as the creative writing goes, I am planning on sticking with 'Free Range Writing' (in our case, 10 mins per day) - as this approach worked really well for DS2 last year in Yr 4, when he experienced somewhat of a mental block as far as writing was concerned. This can be really good for conditioning the brain to 'just write' when it needs to, though is obviously more of a general help as far as creative writing goes - as opposed to 11-plus specific (it does work particularly well for children with a perfectionist streak, who struggle to knuckle down and get started, IMHO though - if you can get them to persevere with it!) The idea is that they just write for 10 mins (or any pre-agreed time limit) on whatever on earth they want to - story, poem, rhyme, memoir/diary, report, persuasive argument - absolutely anything goes! Day dreaming (so long as it's about the writing) is allowed in the time - and you have to be totally uncritical about what they write! You will be amazed at what they can achieve in just 10 minutes when they have complete free reign - and so will they! We keep a special notebook just for this purpose.
I realise this in itself will not be enough for the 11-plus though, so I am also planning on setting DS2 exercises similar to those found in the CSSE sample papers - descriptive writing on a set theme, as well as a set of practical instructions, it mostly looks like to me? So going to try and familiarise/prepare him with exercises like 'Describe a character in your favourite book', 'Provide instructions on how to make a jam sandwich' etc. etc.
As far as the SPAG side of it goes, DS1 went to a really good tutor (now retired, sadly
) who used to use the 'SATS Buster' workbooks with him quite effectively, so I'm definitely going to buy in some of those.
Will let you know if I find anything else - please do share also
DS1 did really well, but this is my first time DIY'ing so I feel like I'm on a major learning curve!!